Drew Stensland & Kristen Ahart win runoff

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On Wednesday, March 7, a crowd of nearly 100 people gathered in Maucker Union, eagerly awaiting the results of the Northern Iowa Student Government (NISG) presidential election after last week’s voting resulted in a runoff.

At around 7:10 p.m., election commissioner Ben Dzaboff announced that Drew Stensland and Kristen Ahart had won the 2018 NISG presidential race over opposing candidates Tristan Bernhard and Cole Malcolm.

“We couldn’t have have done it without our awesome team; the awesome people who spent countless hours contacting people,” Stensland said. “I’m pretty sure we contacted half the campus by the end of the [campaign]. I think it was the right message at the right time. Students wanted to see common sense come back to their student government — making sure that we’re working on student priorities and listening to students, and we were able to show that tonight. It truly is a new day for NISG.”

“I’m overwhelmed with the amount of support we’ve received in the past three weeks,” Ahart said. “It obviously means the world for Drew and I for people to believe in our vision for UNI.”

Stensland and Ahart received 1,272 votes, 54.10 percent of the total vote, according to Dzaboff. Meanwhile, the opposing ticket, Tristan Bernhard and Cole Malcolm, garnered 1,079 votes, 45.90 percent of the total vote.

According to Dzaboff, the total vote count was higher for this week’s runoff election than for last week’s initial round of voting that resulted in the elimination of candidates Seán Dugan and Chad Schafer.

Bernhard and Malcolm congratulated Stensland and Ahart, while also commenting on the campaign process.

“They put an enormous amount of effort in, as did their team,” Bernhard said. “So, we really want to congratulate them and wish them good luck on their process. I think we’re both excited to be here to advise them should they need anything along the way, too.”

“Drew and Kristen ran a great campaign, and we’re looking forward to helping them to expand their vision for UNI moving forward,” Malcolm said.

Stensland reciprocated the positivity of Bernhard and Malcolm.

“They ran an awesome campaign,” Stensland said. “They really did a nice job of keeping it about students and keeping it about the issues. I’m sure either way, we both look forward to working with them in the next term.”

“We couldn’t have asked for a better group to run against,” Ahart added.

Current NISG President Jamal White, who was in attendance during yesterday’s election announcement, expressed excitement for Stensland and Ahart, speaking positively of the upcoming transition.

“I’m extremely excited for them,” White said. “I’m excited for what they’ll bring to the table. I’m excited to see the new initiatives they have going, but I’m most excited to see the things that they continue within NISG that have been brought about this year.”

Stensland and Ahart said that their first priority after taking office will be scheduling meetings with student organizations. This is in line with their platform, which listed meeting with every student organization as a primary goal.

“280 [student organizations] is a lot to get through in an entire term,” Stensland said. “But, we plan on making sure we hit the ground running.”

— News Editor Jacob Madden contributed to this story.